On the night the franchise celebrated one captain in Brenden Morrow it was the current leader that put the game on his back in the third period and willed the home team to a crucial two points in its pursuit of a division title.
It was not without great cost, however, when in the dying seconds of the third period Tyler Seguins ankle was raked with a skate, putting him out of action for the remainder of the regular season and possibly beyond.
"It's a 15 percent cut of the Achilles tendon, probably the best case scenario," GM Jim Nill remarked Friday, and his coach agreed.
"I think we're fortunate that it is diagnosed what it is," Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. "It shouldn't be as tough to come back from, but it will be a tough time of year to come back, I can tell you that. It'll be tough to catch up and get in playoff mode."
So there's a lot of gratitude that the whole tendon was not severed.
At the end of the day, however, they just lost the NHL's third leading scorer and arguably the most skilled player on the team for a month- And they hope he can be back for whatever playoff matchups they're left with after the down time.
The Stars now go about the business of trying to secure something featuring games 1 and 2 at American Airlines Center without him, and will tell you that because he's been playing on the wing lately it will be easier execute his replacement.
Patrick Sharp returned to the lineup on Thursday so he will get some of those minutes. Brett Ritchie is in reserve, and they expect to get Mattias Janmark back in the near future but not tonight.
The real question is John Klingberg's status, and that will have to wait for morning skate later today. Janmark, Demers, Seguin and Jordie Benn are all out as they continue to wage this untimely battle against injuries.
Another demon the Stars fight this evening? Saturdays. They've lost 10 of their last 12 Saturday evening games and 13 of their 30 losses on the year have come on this day of the week, for whatever reason.
Their last meeting with these New York Islanders was something you might call a "high-event" affair. The goals, sure- 11 total featuring six for John Tavares and his bunch in the Islander win, but also 85 combined shots on goal in favor of the home team (44-41). So they like to get up and down the ice a bit.
The Islanders have been a little clogged up of late, however, scoring just 12 times total over their last six outings- So they're looking to get healthy, particularly on their power play that's not gotten a lot of opportunity lately, resulting in having scored just once in their last five games.
Nashville limited them to just 22 shots on goal, no power plays, and a pair of tallies Thursday night in a bizarre game that included just a single penalty called.
Their lineup had been something like this-
However Casey Cizikas and Mikhail Grabovksi were somewhat surprised scratches Thursday night- Grabovski went home to be evaluated but Cizikas skated yesterday and could play tonight. The injuries don't affect their considerable firepower up front.
From Stars PR:
THE LONELY ISLAND
The Dallas Stars and New York Islanders meet on Saturday night in the final contest of a five-game homestand at American Airlines Center. Dallas and New York play for the second time this season, with the Islanders winning the first game of the season series, 6-5, on Jan. 3 at Barclays Center. The Stars faced a 5-2 deficit late in the second period and nearly rallied to force overtime after posting three goals in the third period. Forward Valeri Nichushkin tied a career-high with two goals (2-0=2), scoring an even-strength goal and power play goal that both came in the third period. Three other Stars skaters recorded multi-point games, including forward Jason Spezza (1-1=2), forward Colton Sceviour (0-2=2) and defenseman Alex Goligoski (0-2=2).
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Stars captain Jamie Benn tallied a three-point outing (2-1=3), including the game-winning goal in the third period, against Tampa Bay on Thursday night and has points in five of his last six games (4-5=9). With his two goals against the Lightning, Benn established a new career-high mark with 36 goals this season, surpassing his previous best of 35 goals set last season. He ranks second in the NHL with 80 points (36-44=80), ranking third in goals (36) and tied for seventh in assists (44). On home ice this season, Benn leads the NHL with 26 goals and shares second with 47 points (26-21=47), notching seven points (4-3=7) over his last four games at American Airlines Center. The native of Victoria, B.C. has registered points in four of his last six games against the New York Islanders (2-3=5) and has seven points (3-4=7) in nine career games against them.